SFA Fortnightly Update

Dear Member, 


Welcome to this edition of the SFA e-zine. 


If you haven't done so already, please take 5 minutes to answer a few questions on our Newsletter updates and webinars, so that we can focus on what works best for you and your business.


In this issue, we direct members to the newly launched National Remote Working Guidance and seek members views for the recently launched consultation on the delivery of further guidance on remote working for both employers and employees.


Once again, we update members on the practical steps they need to take to prepare for an EU without the UK.


Listen back to last week’s Q&A on practical aspects of and updates on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and our webinar Structuring your business tax efficiently now and for the future.


Read the update on the parental leave extension from 2 weeks to 5 weeks for parents of children born after 1 November 2019.


Finally, we also provide recent press coverage.


As always, we’d love to hear from you about any queries you may have, issues you wish to have raised with Government or other stakeholders and your ideas on how we can improve the business environment for us all. Please contact me on tel: 01 605 1602 or e-mail: sven@sfa.ie or tweet: @SFA_Irl or visit our website.


Kind regards, 

Sven Spollen-Behrens

SFA Director


SFA in the media
  • Support Local
  • Government Covid Scheme

Support Local

SFA Director Sven Spollen-Behrens was featured in various outlets such as The Echo, Longford Leader, The Avondhu, and Fingal Independent speaking about supporting small businesses and boosting the local economy,


Government Covid Scheme

Sven Spollen-Behrens was mentioned in The Business Post discussing the €2bn Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme.



National Remote Working Guidance launched

Check out the newly launched National Remote Working Guidance and recently launched consultation on the delivery of further guidance on remote working for both employers and employees...

In December 2019 the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation published Remote Work in Ireland, a report on the prevalence and types of remote working solutions in Ireland, the attitudes towards them and influencing factors for employees and employers when engaging with these solutions.


The Remote Work in Ireland report found that employers and employees needed more guidance in order to increase the uptake of remote working. In particular the report highlighted the areas of:  

  • equality  
  • health and safety  
  • employment rights and the right to disconnect  
  • data protection  
  • training   

In response to the unprecedented number of people working from home as a result of COVID-19, the Government has published Guidance for Working Remotely during COVID-19 detailing where information can be found on each of these areas.


As remote working becomes a bigger part of our work culture, the Government has launched a public consultation to inform the delivery of guidance on remote working for both employers and employees. Government want to know how they can further build on this guidance by addressing key areas of concern for employers and employees when it comes to remote working.


For example:  

  • Is the current guidance suitable?  
  • Does the current guidance provide clarity?  
  • How could the current guidance be improved?  
  • Are there further areas on which employers need guidance?  
  • Are there further areas on which employees need guidance?  

In order to draft our submission in enough time, we would ask that you return your contribution before close of business on Thursday, 30th July to elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.

Brexit – Are you ready?

Once again, we update members on the practical steps they need to take to prepare for an EU without the UK...

Whatever the shape of the future trading relationship with the UK post transition, trading conditions with the UK will change and small businesses need to prepare for that change now.


A new EU Document “Getting ready for changes” sets out a sector-by-sector overview of the main areas where there will be changes regardless of the outcome of the ongoing EU-UK negotiations, and sets out measures that national authorities, businesses and citizens should take in order to be ready for these.


In order to prepare for Brexit the SFA recommends the following:

  • Visit Getting Business Brexit Ready, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation website on business Brexit preparedness.
  • Get your EORI number. If you are trading in goods to or from the UK, an Economic Operators Registration Identification (EORI) is required to be entered on a customs declaration. In the post-Brexit environment, all goods movements involving the UK will require a customs declaration. To register for an EORI number visit the Revenue Online Service.
  • The Brexit Loan Scheme provides affordable financing to businesses that are either currently impacted by Brexit or will be in the future. The Scheme, which is delivered by the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland through commercial lenders will make €300 million available to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees at an interest rate of 4% or less.      
  • Start to Plan Voucher Scheme (through InterTradeIreland) offers SMEs advice and guidance to help navigate their way through Brexit. The vouchers offer 100% financial supports of up to £2,000/€2, 250 (inclusive of VAT), towards professional advice in relation to Brexit matters. This support can help businesses get advice on specific issues, such as the movement of labour, goods, services, customs, logistics and financial issues such as VAT and currency management.      
  • The Trading Online Voucher Scheme offers financial assistance of up to €2,500 along with training and advice to help your business trade online.       
  • The Technical Assistance for Micro-Exporters (TAME) grant supports LEO clients to explore and develop new export market opportunities. This scheme is a matched funding opportunity with up to €2,500 available to eligible businesses. Under the scheme costs incurred when investigating, researching and accessing export markets can be part funded.      
  • The Credit Review Office provides a simple and effective review process for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), sole traders and farm enterprises refused credit from Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland, PTSB and Ulster Bank.    
  • Microfinance Ireland offers loans to established business.  
  • Contact your Local Enterprise Office for information on supports and initiatives available to small firms.   
  • Read the Currency Risk Management guide to learn more about assessing and managing your firms exposure to foreign currency risk.    
  • Visit the Supporting SME tool at supportingsmes.ie  which sets out the full range of Government financial and other supports.
Listen back

Listen back to last week’s Q&A on practical aspects of and updates on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme and our webinar Structuring your business tax efficiently now and for the future...

  • Q&A on the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme

Last week we held a Teams Call on updates on the TWSS for those continuing to access the subsidy with our colleagues in BDO.

The session looked at three key themes: 

  • Remaining on the scheme post Q2 
  • Leaving the scheme 
  • The recently commenced Revenue compliance phase – including letters from the Revenue. 

For those of you who couldn’t attend the meeting we have recorded the call and you can access it here.

  • Structuring your business tax efficiently now and for the future

Catherine Mc Govern, Tax Partner at PKF O’Connor, Leddy and Holmes joined us again last week for a webinar on how to structure your business tax efficiently now and for the future. Catherine’s presentation looks at key considerations and workable examples covering areas such as, Entrepreneur Relief, Retirement Relief and pension contributions. Catherine also explains the tax implications of selling or gifting a business.


To view this and last week’s tax webinars see here our two tax webinars from earlier this year can be accessed below.



Parents leave and benefit update

Parent’s Leave and Benefit expected to be extended from 2 to 5 weeks for all parents of children born after 1 November 2019 

In recognition of the particular challenges that mothers and parents have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government is considering a proposal to advance the extension of Parent’s Leave and Benefit to five weeks for all parents of children born after 1 November 2019, to enable every eligible parent of young children to spend additional time with their child.


The Government proposal would mean that eligible parents of children born during the pandemic crisis will get an extra three weeks of Parent’s Leave to offset the impact of having a child during the strict lockdown measures. The period in which Parent’s Leave can be taken will also be extended from one year to two years. This, and related costs, will be considered as part of the Budget 2021 process. The support is paid at a rate of €245 per week.


Who is entitled to parent’s leave?

The Act enables a “relevant parent” to take two weeks parent’s leave which must be taken within 52 weeks of the birth/adoption of a child. Subject to eligibility and notification criteria being met, parent’s leave applies to births/placements that take place on or after the 1 November 2019. During parent’s leave, employees who have the necessary PRSI contributions are entitled to parent’s benefit from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection.


Under the Act, a “relevant parent” includes: 

  • a parent of the child 
  • the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of a parent of the child 
  • a parent of the child where the child is a donor-conceived child 
  • the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child 
  • the spouse, civil partner or cohabitant of the adopting mother or sole male adopter of the child 
  • each individual in the couple where the child is, or is to be, adopted jointly by a married couple of the same sex or a couple that are civil partners of each other, or a cohabiting couple of the same sex 

What is the difference between parental leave and parent's leave?

Parental leave entitles parents to take unpaid leave from work to spend time looking after their children. Currently both parents can take up to 22 weeks parental leave and from 1 September 2020, this will increase to 26 weeks.


Parent's leave is specifically for parents during the child's first year.


Is there a minimum service requirement before a person is eligible to take the leave?

There is no minimum service requirement applicable to this leave.


Does an employee accrue annual leave while on parent’s leave?

Yes, employees accrue annual leave during parent’s leave as though the absence has been worked.


You can view more information on parents and other family leave and make contact with Emma Crowley on 01 605 1668 or at emma.crowley@sfa.ie if you have any further questions  



The KeepWell Summit
  • 17 September

The KeepWell Summit, Ibec’s flagship workplace wellbeing event, is going virtual on 17 September.


We are delighted to announce that tickets are now on sale for our virtual workplace wellbeing event – an event featuring wellness experts and talks on topics such as mental health, diversity and inclusion, financial wellbeing and more.


The event will be an immersive, 3D experience where delegates can network with each other, speakers and exhibitors.


Speakers in previous years have included: International Rugby Union Referee, Nigel Owens; best-selling author of Better, John Grant; sleep expert, Lucy Wolfe; and Ibec’s Head of Social Policy, Dr Kara McGann.

Speakers and a full agenda for this year’s Summit will be announced shortly.


Book now to secure your place at Ibec’s flagship workplace wellbeing event on 17 September and to avail of this limited offer.


Proudly sponsored by Fitbit.

Webinar: Practical guide to building a Marketing Strategy
  • 30 July

During this 45 minute webinar marketing expert Muireann Fitzmaurice, Marketing Coach, will bring you through a step by step process on how to write a marketing strategy for your business.


The webinar will focus on:

  • What is included in a marketing strategy?
  • How to CHOOSE the right tool for YOUR business?
  • Creating a compelling message for your business
  • Practical tips on how to save TIME in marketing your business

You will leave this session feeling empowered with practical advice and that you know exactly what you need to do to market your business effectively.


Book Now